Peaceful atom: Japan will build the most powerful supercomputer for nuclear research

The Japan National Institute of Quantum and Radiological Sciences (QST) has signed a contract with Cray to supply the Cray XC50 supercomputer. Its facilities will be directed to conducting nuclear research and supporting the international ITER project. One of the objectives of the project is to demonstrate the potential commercial use of a fusion reactor.

More details about the purpose of the supercomputer and its configuration are described below.


/ Photo Brad Montgomery CC
As reported in The Verge, a new, yet unnamed, Cray computer system, which is located in Rokkasho Institute (Rokkasho Fusion Institute), which is engaged in nuclear research and is located in the prefecture Aomori . It is the center of nuclear power in Japan.

They plan to launch a supercomputer in 2018. He will replace his predecessor - the Helios supercomputer , with a performance of 1.5 petaflops.

Supercomputer Features


The peak performance of the new supercomputer will exceed 4 petaflops.

Cray did not disclose all the features of the new machine, but it will probably run on Skylake Xeon processors and support NVIDIA Tesla cards.

The senior editor of the Top-500 resource, based on the declared power of the machine, also suggested that the supercomputer will have more than a thousand dual-socket nodes.

Today, the most powerful supercomputer Cray XC50 is considered the Swiss Piz Daint, with a performance of 25 petaflops. The new Japanese supercomputer will not compete with Piz Daint, but it can be considered the most productive machine for research in the field of nuclear physics. Mamoru Nakano, president of Cray Japan, stresses : "The speed and integrated software environment of the Cray XC50 will allow QST researchers to make new discoveries faster."

The purpose of the new car


The system will help QST scientists conduct research in nuclear fusion and plasma physics. About a thousand scientists from Japan and Europe will also have access to the supercomputer. In addition, computing power will be directed to support the international project ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). The project involves researchers from China, the EU, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

The goal of the project is to create the world's first fusion reactor by 2035 and to prove the possibility of generating electricity using fusion (a brief video review of the project can be found here ). The construction of the reactor, which consists of 1 million components, is maintained in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance in southeastern France.


/ photo NNSA CC
It is not yet known exactly what the new Japanese supercomputer will do for the ITER project. However, Mamoru Nakano claims that “a supercomputer will help unlock the potential of thermonuclear energy as a reliable energy source.”

Another Japanese project - AI Bridging Cloud


Back in April 2018, Japan plans to launch the world's most powerful supercomputer - AI Bridging Cloud (ABCI). Its performance will be 130 petaflops, which is more than the Chinese Sunway TaihuLight (93 petaflops).

ABCI will supply Tesla V100 graphics accelerators based on the Volta architecture, whose tensor kernels “issue” 120 machine-teraflops for machine learning tasks. It is assumed that the system will have 20 GB of parallel storage and consume 3 MW.

According to Satoshi Sekiguchi, CEO of Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, ABCI will help Japanese companies develop and improve unmanned vehicle technology, develop areas of robotics and medicine, as well as artificial intelligence systems.



PS Some material from the First Corporate IaaS Blog:


PPS Materials on the topic from our blog on Habré: